Judge rejects Trump’s bid to move NY hush money case to federal court

Former President Donald Trump lost a bid Wednesday seeking to move his criminal hush-money case from New York state court to federal court, records show.

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U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein wrote in an order issued Wednesday that Trump “failed to show that the conduct charged by the Indictment is for or relating to any act performed by or for the President under the color of the official acts of a President.”

“Trump also has failed to show that he has a colorable federal defense to the Indictment,” Hellerstein added.

Earlier this year, a grand jury in New York indicted Trump on 34 counts of first-degree falsifying business records “with intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof.” According to the indictment, the alleged crimes happened between February and December 2017 and included making false invoices, false ledger entries and false checks and check stubs in violation of state law.

Authorities said Trump made payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, former Playboy model Karen McDougal and a Trump Tower doorman as part of an unlawful scheme aimed at getting him into the White House. In 2018, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws, admitting to submitting false invoices to the Trump Organization to get reimbursement for unlawful campaign contributions made in the form of payments to Daniels and McDougal. He said in federal court that he coordinated with Trump to make the payments, which were aimed at influencing the election.

Officials with media company American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer, said in a non-prosecution agreement that same year that it made a payment to McDougal to ensure that she “did not publicize damaging allegations” about Trump “before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election,” according to prosecutors and previous reports.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, insisting the indictment was politically motivated as he ramps up his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

The former president is also facing federal charges related to his handling of classified records. On Tuesday, he announced on social media that he had been told that he is a target and likely to be indicted in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump is also facing possible charges in Georgia, where prosecutors are examining attempts to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

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